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Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
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studio journal

Video, audio, patch notes

0HP 4Life

An ongoing series cross-posted from

Modules from the Eurorack format of modular synthesizers are measured, in terms of width, by what are called “HP.” The letters stand for “horizontal pitch,” which equals a fifth of an inch. Modules are placed alongside each other in cases, and some ingenuity and space-consciousness can be required when putting together a system. You can see such standard modules, out of focus, in the background of the above two photographs. Functional modules are generally between 4HP and 30HP, but start as low as 1HP and seem to get both wider and narrower with each new release, pushing both ends of the spectrum. On the low end, there’s a wide range of 2HP and 3HP devices.

However, the modules can get smaller still. There is a growing number of modules not intended to be in a rack at all, but instead to hover above the rack, held aloft by the very cables that are plugged into them. These are so-called 0HP modules (that is: zero HP). Pictured here are two such ones I recently obtained. On the bottom, from the small company, is the Gerridae, which is named for the water strider bugs. The one up top, from Error Instruments, is named the Flying Attenuator. There’s a company called Mystic Circuits that specializes in 0HP modules. Whether floating or soaring or on the spiritual plane altogether, these add handy functionality without taking up any precious room.

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ClockSkip In Effect

Simple evening beat experiment

Simple evening beat experiment: four pulses in sync, each triggering a different percussive envelope of a different spectral subset of a pair of waveforms heard in combination. One of the waveforms is having its pitch alerted occasionally, both in and out of sync with the overall rhythm. The element of chance results from the four triggers all being muted on occasion (slightly less than 50% of the time) by the ClockSkip function in the Hemisphere alternate firmware in the Ornament and Crime module. Envelopes courtesy of the Xaoc Zadar. Waves courtesy of a pair of Mutable Instruments Plaits (here in the form of clones: the Antumbra Knit).

Video originally posted at

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Behind the Machine

Lost in the wires

There haven’t been any Buddha Machine Variations in a few days, but there’s been a lot of activity, some of it futile (thus far), but progress is being made. This is a cable intended to connect the ER-301 module to a 16n faderbank via i2c, a nearly 40-year-old data transfer system (see I use the word “intended” because so far the connection is befuddling me.

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Walk Away

Without losing the functionality

Customary rear view of printed circuit board before the device returns to the generous pool of second-hand synthesizer modules. This is the Monome Walk (Monome being the manufacturer, Walk the module), so named because it lets you attach two foot pedals to send triggers and the like. It’s a great module, but I got two smaller modules that accomplish much of what it is useful for, and it’s time for a change.

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Face Lift

Face plate, that is

This isn’t an ornamental choice. The black face plate will allow me to put the silver-faced module horizontal (rather than vertical) into a new, small modular synthesizer case (the one seen in the video I posted two days ago).

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